NBA Power Rankings: Week 23By Bryan Power - Covers Expert
The Warriors and Clippers own the top two spots once again this week, but the defending champion San Antonio Spurs make their way into the top three after a great March.
NBA Power Rankings
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With the win and cover Tuesday night in Los Angeles, the Warriors proved that they should not be an underdog - in any setting. They've won 10 straight, covering the spread in the last eight, giving them the league's best ATS record as well.
Blowing a 17-point lead at home to the Warriors was very discouraging, but the Clippers should absolutely be favored to win a 1st round playoff series, particularly if they end up with a better record than Portland.
Here come the champs, who are peaking at the right time. They went 12-3 SU/11-4 ATS in March and every SU win, but one, came by double digits.
The Hawks lead over Cleveland in the actual standings is safe, but in these power rankings I expect a changing of the guard before the end of the regular season, especially as Mike Budenholzer continues to rest starters.
A couple of uninspired performances cause the Cavs to slip and these lingering questions about team chemistry remain a concern.
Though they had a rough middle part of the month, the Blazers both started and ended March well. All but assured of a top four seed now, their #1 goal needs to be clinching home court advantage for their first round playoff series.
The Mavs were a disaster at the betting window in March, going 3-10 against the spread. They've won only one time, straight up, in their last five games.
Monday's loss at Toronto snapped a four-game win streak, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the Rockets still steal the Southwest Division title.
Losing three straight may not have been a big deal, even though they were handed their worst home loss of the season twice in a row. That's because the three opponents were: Cleveland, Golden State and San Antonio.
After a dreadful start to the second half, the Raptors are a far more respectable 6-4 SU their last 10 games, though three of the wins were against Minnesota, the Lakers and the Knicks.
Three straight wins and covers move the Bulls up a spot this week and when Tom Thibodeau has had two or more days to prepare this season, his team has generally won in blowout fashion.
At home, the Thunder are 23-6 SU and outscoring teams by over 9 PPG when favored. But as a road underdog, they are 4-16 SU and being outscored by 8.1 PPG.
A winning record, Anthony Davis and top four ATS mark in the league will not be enough to get the Pelicans into the playoffs. Sadly for them, at the beginning of the year, a lot of us predicted that might happen.
This teams has simply been an awful bet for more than two months now. Currently, they're on their third ATS losing streak of at least six games since January 21st. Since that date, they are 8-20-1 vs. the number.
Once the league's best bet (led ATS standings), the Bucks have lost 8 of 10 straight up against a somewhat challenging schedule.
The Suns have dropped four in a row - both SU and ATS - while going Under in all of those games as well.
Dating back to early February, the Jazz have won two-thirds of their games, going 16-8 SU.
Paul George can't come back for the playoffs if the team fails to make them.
A top five ATS team in the league, the Celtics rarely get blown out. They are a money-making 20-9 ATS as road underdogs.
Over bettors are starting to profit on the Pistons as their last six games have all flown past the total.
Where will the offense come from in the playoffs? In five of the last six games, the Heat have scored 93 points or less.
Losing nine of their last 12 games in March has taken the sting out of the Hornets playoff aspirations.
Don't tell me that this sorry team is going to make the playoffs. They've won (and covered) four straight, putting them in 8th place in the East.
Despite a winning record since the coaching change, there's not much reason to be enthusiastic about the Nuggets, who are a mystifying 0-12 ATS this season when playing with exactly two days rest.
Following a random four-game win streak, the Kings went back to "doing what they do" & that's lose back to back games by double digits.
Give the Lakers some credit as they didn't lose a game by more than 10 points in March, showing they are still somewhat competitive.
On the other hand, you have the Magic, who have lost 9 of 10 - the last three all by double digits.
Like the Magic, the T'wolves won only three games in March and were no more competitive with most of the losses coming by double digits.
Three of the Sixers last four losses have actually been by only two points or less. They are actually a not that terrible (for them) 10-19 SU L29 games.
It's interesting that we're poised to have a season where the team with the best SU record will also have the best ATS record and the team with the worst SU record could have the worst ATS record as well. Clearly, Golden State is the best team in the league and clearly the Knicks are now the worst.
Power Ratings compute offensive and defensive statistics into one number for each team, while accounting for factors like recent performances and strength of schedule. Power Ratings can be used as a baseline for relative spread index to compare current or future match-ups between two teams. The relative spread does not account for non-statistical factors like home-field advantage, recent injuries, game time decisions, rivalries, publicity, and weather.